Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Honda CR-V AC Compressor Problems



  • ARRGHHH! I just posted a long response to old_red and my computer crashed. So I'll keep it short.

    FWIW, I think you should skip the dealers and go to a good local shop that you trust AND is willing to work with you AND you're not real anxious to get the car back right away.

    From what I've read, the problems tend to be "upfront" in the system rather than under the dash with the evaporator. All I know is what I read. The reason the dealers just replace everything is that they are certain that you won't come back and it's better to have a customer upset b/c of cost and a fixed car than a broken car that is bleeding a customer to death. It just makes sense.

    Since you have to pull the front bumper to anything serious to the AC system, might as well pay your guy to pull that and check the easy stuff (after he checks the AC system with the procedure outlined by Honda which involves only the knobs in the center of the console.)

    I assume that there are no leaks evident. If everything checks out OK, he first checks the compressor clutch by putting 12v directly to the clutch wire. If it does not engage, replace the pump. If the pump is bad, then it's easy to simply check the interior of the AC lines for bits of debris (if your compressor made a "noise" just before it died, then it loaded your AC system with shrapnel and you must replace everything back to the evaporator under the dash - $$$$$). My compressor just died so I was lucky. I'm not convinced that compressor explode as often as people say they do.

    If the compressor looks OK inside and the lines look OK, then have him check the condenser in front of the radiator in the front. If that's clogged as mine was, then you luck out as I did. If not, spend $40 to replace the drier dessicant as a precaution.

    I think it all comes down to whether you want to hang on to the car for as long a period of time as justifies your expenditure. A car with a non functioning AC has to worth a LOT less than otherwise. Tough call.
  • Yes any 8-9 year old vehicle is going to have problems and I would expect them but every 2 years the a/c failing starting in year 2 is unacceptable high miles or not.
  • vinnie_the_kidvinnie_the_kid Posts: 9
    edited August 2010
    You know, I thought about the quality of that ChiCom compressor when I was making my purchase. What I do know is that I have a Taiwanese made AC compressor that is branded as a Sanden. Sanden is one of the most popular aftermarket Japanese AC compressors for the hot rod crowd. I'm not married to Japanese quality but at least I've had experience with other countries of origin. My Sanden compressor has worked perfectly for over five years in my big block vette.

    And let's say I'm wrong about the ChiCom unit and it fries in two years. If I still have the car and didn't grenade the compressor, then I buy another one and this time it takes me two hours to flip out the old for the new. Since I don't pay for labor, it just doesn't matter in this world of disposable items. You raise a good point about the cost of labor. I don't mind at all that someone makes a living but why do they have to make ALL of their boat payments off of just ME?

    I suppose I'm rationalizing here and I risk going off topic but I recently learned that our refrigerator uses R134a as a refrigerant so that my tools will work on our SubZero. TALK ABOUT A rip off. I had no choice of fridges, this beast came with the house. The temp kept going up and I finally called the authorized repairman who replaced the condenser under warranty. I carefully watched him. His skill set consists of soldering and getting factory parts at cost. I scoped out his tools. He used a 25 micron vacuum pump (what I bought at Harbor Freight) PLUS he never recovered the old refrigerant. He used a mannometer wheras I use gauges. His refrigerant tank was labeled the same as that for the cars.

    He charged me $300 for his travel time and refrigerant under warranty. He said the bill, out of warranty, is almost $2,000.

    THAT was when I decided that I could fix a car AC system.
  • My issue is that my crv is 7 years old and this is the 3rd time the a/c has gone out starting year 2 then year 4 and again this year. There is obviously an issue with the components for the a/c not the age of the vehile or the miles.
  • old_redold_red Posts: 6
    Thanks for the good info Vinnie. I wish I had seen the long version. I have checked with several independent shops, and the consensus is about $1,500 for a compressor, condenser and expansion valve. I don't think that is going to do it because I heard a terrible metallic grinding noise just before losing cold air. I had just started the vehicle in the driveway when it happened. So I'm assuming the shrapnel scenario.

    Based on your earlier post, I've even considered doing this job myself. I've done a fair amount of mechanic'ing on my '66 Mustang, but a 2003 Honda is a whole other animal. I had planned to keep the CR-V indefinitely, but after this, I don't know.
  • Well.. okay...

    To be clear... mine did not turn off the light or the compressor..

    When "defrost" is selected, both the light and the compressor still come on... BUT, when I then push the button, the light and the compressor both go off...

    I guess my point is.... the light still indicates whether the compressor is running, or not... The compressor isn't running, when the light is off...

    At least, I don't think so.... I traded that car in, two years ago... ;)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,348
    Boy, I don't know...all of that labor and you put on a chinese made compressor?

    I just haven't heard any good reports but maybe things have improved quality wise.

    Harbor Freight sells junk and they sell some things that wold probably work perfectly well for once in awhile home use.

    I know the pros won't touch their stuff.

    What would the price difference have been between the chinese pump and a quality (?) rebuilt one?

    Labor rates are nuts now but so are overhead charges, the wages it takes to attract quality people and thxes and insurance.

    The shops aren't really getting rich.
  • k04401k04401 Posts: 1
    My 02 CR-V's (@ 102,000 miles) a/c stopped working a few weeks ago, I thought I just needed a freon refill as I do not remember any loud noises, just a hiss and no more cold air, then this weekend I started having trouble keeping my car from stalling out when I was in idle, I also noticed a burning rubber smell, no warning lights came home, I managed to get home and when I opened the hood I was surprised to see the serpentine belt broken right in half. I took it in today and was told the clutch and pulley on the a/c compressor was broken and that caused the serpentine belt to break and he was unable to fix it and suggested a radiator and a/c specialist that quoted me 950 to fix it. My dad is helping me out and having his mechanic look at it to see what can be done, I can live without a/c in my car but it's my impression that this issue is bigger for most people than just having a/c or not, am I right or could there be something else wrong with my car? Thanks!
  • Have you heard back from NHTSA? I am on my 3rd ac unit and Honda is not willing to do anything due to high miles on the car. I travel for my job and need a dependable car with AC which is why I bought the Honda.
  • vinnie_the_kidvinnie_the_kid Posts: 9
    edited August 2010
    WOW isellhondas...

    you sound JUST like the homers who crapped all over the first hondas and datsuns that reached our shores when Roger Smith ordered GM to NOT include import sales unts in the market forecasts presented to him

    Based on my SUBSTANTIAL experience of buying Chicom tools (I was an early adopter of buying stuff from Harbor Freight), I can say that my own personal experience is that the tools are of perfect quality for me..perhaps not for a professional mechanic, but certainly good enough to build a 454 zz440 and a blown 355 small block chevy that will leave your rice rockets in the DISTANT rear view mirror

    As far as ChiCom car components, I admit that that they've had their share of problems which is why I've been very careful about buying any aftermarket parts. I can't say that I've had any problems attributable to ChiCom manufactures products. That includes a bunch of Heier refrigerators/freezers that we bought at WalMart. What data do you have that demonstrates that Chicom components are inferior to any other country of origin?

    Geez, you must be REALLY upset that Geely bought Volvo which gives the Chicoms what they wanted the most - US distribution. For your health, I certainly hope that you don't have to change your non de plume to isellgeeely

    Please relax, it's all a global village.

    And I am VERY comfortable that all my work went into installing a Chinese air compressor and not to some fat cat mega car dealer so that he make make his next boat payment.

    Maybe you should up the dose of antihypertensive that you're on or take a Vicodin or something. Oooops, now that I think of it, that will only make you more upset because the vast majority of drug raw materials come from India or China. And THAT is backed up by data, not personal opinion.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,348
    Oh, I'm not in the slightest bit upset. Far from it.

    It's just that in my many years in the tool business, I saw a lot of Chinese junk come to our shores. I watched jaws break on cheap Chinese vises and floor jacks blow their seals quickly. I saw the chrome peel on their wrenches and saw their brittle sockets break under load.

    Having said that....

    I am also open to the reality that things CAN change and that quailty CAN improve.

    Korean cars are a good example of that.

    You'll have to remember that I was in a business that dealt strictly with the pros who demand top quality tools that hold up. Thses guys won't even buy Craftsman tools for the most part.

    Would I buy a Harbor Freight electric drill that I would probably use four times a year? You bet!

    Would I get under a car supported by Chinese jack stands?

    And, no, I'm not upset that the Chinese bought Volvo. I doubt if they could make them any more troublesome than they already are.

    BTW...I'm an old racer too only I perfered the Chevy small blocks!
  • vinnie_the_kidvinnie_the_kid Posts: 9
    edited August 2010
    Hello there,

    Intuitively, I think you are absolutely correct. It wouldn't be the first time that me as a lone wolf has a different opinion than a bunch of very qualified MEs who do this sort of stuff for a living.

    What I think we can all agree on is the premise that moving as much air as possible over a radiator device is a good idea for the device dissipating heat into that radiator. That being said, the factory, I'm sure, designs their systems to take into account a wide variety of operating conditions and since they sell CR-Vs for people who live in the desert, that likley beats any situation that I have in the North East.

    All I know is what I've seen empirically with my car and cars that I've been asked to look at. Moving the front plate out of the air path resulted in a subjective increase in AC productivity. This is a well know fact which, as I said, dates back at least to the introduction of high performance engines in the '60s. I'm left with speculation about the root cause of failure. I can't imagine that the compressor itself caused the problem because I found no shrapnel; the clutch failed It is entirely possible that the compressor problem and condenser problem occured simultaneously due to chance.

    As I said, I over engineer my solutions. I added a 10" pusher and that proves my point. I am now content in my fantasy world of moving LOTS of air over the radiators.

    I don't have much energy to argue whether my theory is correct or not. It's just a theory.

  • vinnie_the_kidvinnie_the_kid Posts: 9
    edited August 2010
    Well, I can see that you're a pragmatist, which is what I appreciate. Your comment about Volvos proves that.

    Right now, the ChiComs are kicking the crap out of the Indians as far as general low-cost/medium quality manufacturing capability goes. That won't last a hell of a lot longer b/c the cost of living is going up pretty quickly in the more sophisticated areas of the mainland. It's only a matter of time before the Indonesians come on line and then it will be South America.

    To get back on topic, I feel bad for those of us who bought CR-Vs made in Great Britain b/c of the cost of parts. WHY would ANYONE buy a car made in Great Britain??? (that'll generate some hate mail, I'm sure). If I had a "G" car instead of a "J" car, my very first project would be to retrofit the front end with J car spec AC parts. It would probably look like hell but I'd just cover it up with the front fascia.

    I can see from a number of the posts that these problems have scared off (or at least rattled) future Honda buyer. From what I've read, I don't see this as a major problem.

    I've had some recent problems that caused me to spend a few bucks on the CR-V but I'm not that concerned. A rear caliper locked closed, grinding away the brake pad and I had the metal brake pad grinding into the brake disk. Never heard the brake tell tale kick in and the rear brake caliper/disk was HOT. Replaced that and brake usage seems to be as expected.

    CR-Vs also have a bad reputation for ABS units and the dealer cost is beyond belief; it is staggering to say the least. My ABS master is making a "ticking" sound so I bought a used unit off of a "good" car and just have that sitting on the shelf for the time when I need it. Couldn't find a ChiCom replacement. I still think this is a great car for the price but will also look at the Koreans when we next go shopping. And probably Geely if they have a truckette in the line up by them.

    I can't resist poking fun at the mechanics who will only work with certain brands of tools. Snap On is very good quality but I don't know that the price is justified over that of Craftsman or even Home Depot/Lowes' brand. Oh, I'm not against buying very high quality tools, I have a set of Hazet tools that I used when I worked as a mechanic. They're just tools.

    It's not the tools, it's always been the guy/gal behind the tool.

    As a post edit add, I'll try to repsond to your other questions. Clearly, in my opinion, Harbor Freight does not "sell junk" and their warranties are as good as anyone's out there. I even bought an 8" swing lathe from these guys and we're clearly not talking about high end here - there's a lot of lash that needs to be taken out before you do high quality work. BUT, it easily turned a true 4" diameter, 3 inch long extension for a crank pulley on the small block which drives my centrifugal supercharger. Plus I got a two year, no questions asked, return-whenever-I-want to warranty. I actually use this stuff rather than talking theory.

    Also, based on my experience, you/anyone clearly DOES NOT get what they pay for when are serviced by a dealer. Yes, I know it takes money to cover overhead costs. Rather than ripping off Joe or Jane Doe, why doesn't the dealer just reduce overhead costs? Stop allowing the salespeople to drive home in dealer cars would be a REAL good place to start. Teaching sales people that dealer cars are to be driven with respect would be another good way to reduce overhead.

    The concept of a flat rate book is archaic. If the manufacturers would stop this nonsense, then you could really encourage dealers to become competitive.

    When you take your car to a dealer (or any shop for that matter but dealers are the most virulent with the practice), you pay top dollar for a mechanic, regardless of his/her quality. Makes sense, because they have so much overhead (see my points above). The quality of expertise is uneven but that doesn't affect the cost of the job. Sounds like a teacher's union to me. I went to a Honda dealer on Route 73 in South Jersey because my CR-V had THREE recalls to be fixed (honest to God, the fourth one was in my mailbox when I got home that night). They proudly displayed their service customer satisfaction rating - 69% for the top ranking. I understood why when I went to pick up my CR-V. Their AFSME certified mechanic neglected to attach the driver's side door panel when I went to take the car home. Musta' had a tough day.

    As far as the difference in cost for compressors, I just checked again and I was wrong on the price. The cost is $179, not $199 as previoulsy stated. The rebuilt Honda compressors were ~$400. The reason why I didn't go with the rebuild is my experience with rebuilt water pumps and brake calipers - I just haven't had good luck with them and decided to go a new route. And as I noted previously, the Honda OTC price was beyond sanity. As it was, I HAD to buy a relay from Honda and that cost me $30!!!!!!! It has a proprietary pinout so I had no choice. OK, I'll but a local GENUINE HONDA part every 8 years or so. LOL!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,348
    I think that you and I are probably about the same age with similar backgrounds. We would probably get along quite well.

    I think the reason you are so tuned into air flow is because, like me, you dealt with cars that ran so hot they were always on the edge. We had to watch our temp guages and if caught in a traffic jam, we had to switch off our A/C. When we had our radiators recored we usually "stepped up" and bought the heavy duty four row jobs. These made a BIG difference.

    But at this point, when I walk into our local HF, I feel the tools and look at the quality. They sell both good and inferior stuff. I am not sold on the Chinese stuff but in the case of a seldom used tool, sure, I would buy it.

    Funny, our 2003 CRV has never had a recall for anything. It is a "Japan" car.

    I do have my brake fluid changed every two years to prevent my calipers form freezing up.

    Hazet tools? Some old time German mechanics will use nothing but Hazet or Stalwille.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    edited August 2010
    Where did you wire in the 10" fan vinnie? I meant to ask you that before. Is it with the clutch wiring? The clutch is an electro-magnet action I believe, so not a lot of current. But if u used that connection, then the fan would work off and on without u having to remember to sw it all the time. What was that fan rated to draw in amps, did you happen to notice? And rpm etc? It looks like it might be std issue universal use accessory rad cooling part? $ ?

    Also, when u mounted it it looks like it is mounted directly to the condenser? Yet surely not. The vibration would quickly loosen the very lightly place fins. In the pic it actually looks like u poked a hole though a fin area, but that must be an optical illusion.
  • vkgarryvkgarry Posts: 6
    Hey, Vinnie!

    As a desert dweller, I have had FIVE A/C compressors fail on my 04 CR-V. Every summer, like clockwork. The first one failed the first summer in 05, and subsequently in 06, 07, 08 and 09. The first two times the whole system was replaced by the factory warranty, the second two by the extended warranty (in fact, my dealer waived the deductable on the 4th one), and this last one wasn't covered at all. It's sitting parked while I drive my 04 Hyundai Sonata for the summer. I guess the Hyundai will get a winter vacation. The heater on the CR-V works great!
  • Update blower for air ceased so returned to Honda dealer and they said something had triggered the fusebox to fail and it was the blower transmitter. Replacement would have been 227 but since same week of the other work gave me a break and charged 89 instead. Go figure that one. lol :confuse:
  • Good morning,

    I want to wrap this up because I didn't respond to this post to gain a pen pal.

    What I can say with great authority is that I've posted what I've actually done and I hope this helps some of you folks figure out what to do with your own problem vehicle. If you follow my advice, I think you'll obtain some useful information.

    I'll see you folks next year or so and let you know how my assumptions worked out, good, bad or indifferent.

    be cool.....
  • Anyone having problem getting a compressor from Honda? Mine out for 2 weeks and Honda told me they were back ordered and would arrive yesterday. Now telling me 8/21...another 2 weeks. Not a happy camper. Anyone know where I can get one on line? Thanks :mad:
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    edited August 2010
    Before you go, where did you wire in your 10" fan Vinnie? Do you switch it on manually?
Sign In or Register to comment.